The Boston Celtics flew down to Brooklyn to take on the Nets for game 5 of the first-round in the playoffs. Being down 3-1 in the series, this was a go big or go home game for the Celtics. Behind Jayson Tatums 32 points, Boston was toe to toe with Brooklyn up until late in the 3rd quarter. And evidently, completely lost momentum in the 4th quarter as the Nets stomped all over the Celtics. With no Robert Williams (foot), Kemba Walker (bone bruising in the knee), and obviously no Jaylen Brown (wrist surgery), Boston was clearly the underdog in this game, and throughout the whole series. Tatum carried his team this series averaging 30.6 points per game. But, was not enough to take down the powerhouse Brooklyn Nets, thus ending their season.
Celtics First Half:
In the first 6 1/2 minutes of the first quarter, all 5 starters for Boston all got 2 points each. Smart started off very cold as he went 1-6 from the field (0-5 from 3). The Celtics overall shot poorly, as they went 3-16 (20%) from the 3-point line. With 6:20 left in the second quarter, Jabari Parker went for 3-4 from the field and 9 points off the bench for Boston. Shooting only a mere 37.3% in the first half, the Celtics were fortunate that they were only down eigth.
Celtics Second Half:
Brooklyn would go on a run to start off the second half, but Boston would answer back with a run of their own to cut the Nets lead to just 6 at one point. After a buzzer-beating long 2 pointer by Tatum to end the 3rd quarter, the Celtics are down just 79-86. In the fourth quarter, Boston was able to cut Brooklyn’s lead to 8 before all three of The Big 3 knocked down back-to-back-to-back 3 pointers. About halfway through the fourth quarter, the Celtics absolutely broke down. Their defense got lazy, wide open (some contested) 3 point shots and layups made by the Nets, and the lead was 22 with little over 3 minutes left in the game. Tatum finished the game with 32 points, and Fournier with 18.
Tatum did his thing and gave his team 32 points. But looking at some of Boston’s less known players, Romeo Langford had 17 points, Evan Fournier with 18, and Parker got 13 off the bench. This is a great way for these players to end off the season on a positive note. It also is great to help their confidence grow going into the next season.
The Celtics offseason started earlier than most, as they got bumped out of the playoffs in the first round. For Boston to even win 1 game in this series against Brooklyn is very impressive as they were an extremely injured team. As free agency begins, there will be a lot of talk about what to do about Kemba Walker, who has been dealing with a knee injury all year long. Brown will look to recover from surgery and hopefully will be ready for the beginning of next season. Williams will also use the offseason to take care of his turf toe injury and to be fully healthy soon. With Tatum, Brown, a Willaims, and Kemba all healthy, next season will look different and the league will fear Boston.
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